Microsoft may have all but conceded the smartphone market to Apple and Google regarding their respective mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, but that doesn’t mean the Redmond company will be sitting on the sidelines entirely. The new pivot Microsoft is currently exploring involves developing apps for the two currently dominant smartphone and tablet operating systems. Doubling down on its arguably strong position as the world’s foremost office productivity software provider position, Microsoft has been seeding its Office apps to both iOS and Android for some time now and it appears their gambit could be paying off.
According to a report from ironsSource, an analytics resource for developers, Microsoft’s OneDrive and Word Mobile are among the top 10 fastest growing apps, in May, hovering around 50M to 100M installs in the Google Play Store. Microsoft’s productivity tools bump shoulders with the likes of Audible, Uber, the Opera Mini browser, and Candy Crush Jelly Saga, as being some of the most popular apps in the Google Play Store to date.
While seemingly good news for the ever expanding Office platform, anyone reading the report should do so with a hefty handful of caveats. There are over one billion Android devices active in the world, and presumably, many are smartphones to varying degree, and so even 50 million to 100 million installs still a relatively low number. Also, Microsoft is essentially giving away the service in hopes of keeping or converting users to the more expensive and full-featured offerings on PCs, tablets, and desktops, a plan that has yet to show a one-to-one correlation.
Despite the bit of reality that sits between ironSource and victory lap for the Office team, the report does help to show how competitive Microsoft’s offerings can be on another company's platform. Taking into account perhaps the most important caveat to the report that most Android devices have historically come with Google Docs preinstalled, the need or desire of at least 50 million users to seek out Word Mobile or OneDrive in the month of May is still impressive.